Here we are again, folks. We’re entering the third year (since I can’t do math), and I am still using the Quell pain relief device (give or take two weeks when I forgot to wear it because my schedule was so disrupted that I forgot).
Five bands, who knows how many electrodes — both normal and the new sport model, which I very much prefer in these extremely humid summer months — and two Quell models later, we’ve made it to this point.
Well, I still like the Quell!
At one point before I upgraded to the new model, I feared that either my pain was getting worse or I was becoming sensitized to the electric current. Turning it up didn’t help, but I still couldn’t go without wearing it for very long before I was overcome with pain. That has been my overall plan, you know. To eventually go without wearing it, trying to set myself to absolute zero to see what my pain really is. I’ve been throwing medication at my pain since the age of 17. Surely it’s grown into some hydra demon, magnified into a creature with strength it could not possibly have without the fuel I’ve been supplying? What if I cut off that supply? What if I set it back to where it started and we began again? What would that pain actually be like?
But it’s been so hard to get there, friends. Even removing a single Lyrica pill — 25 mg — has resulted in rebound migraines and lightning in my hands and feet. My neurologist says this isn’t withdrawal, but indications that I actually need to increase the pills. I would not be in withdrawal so soon, he says. Only one pill? That means the pain is there, waiting.
So does that mean nerve pills forever, I asked?
You might be on at least one or two kinds of pills for the rest of your life, he said.
I realized I was kind of okay with that. One or two types of pills is better than seven or eight, which I’m currently taking. At least I’d be consolidating. Fewer co-pays!
At the Meet & Greet event last month, I was surprised when the Neurometrix team offered me the updated Quell. First of all, I didn’t even know there was an updated version (like, I don’t know if it’s sold as a 2.0 version or what), and second, I wasn’t anticipating anything except coffee and fruit. So color me surprised when I drove home with a new gadget to try. And the new version works. So. WELL. It turns on every half hour instead of every hour, and the electrical pulses are stronger. Within minutes I knew this was the device I needed, and I felt calmer in light of my recent neurology appointment. It wasn’t all a disaster.
The new Quell is great. It works better, it hits harder, and it lets me do more. Hell, I’m able to weed the garden on good days. That’s an activity that requires me to kneel down and bend over for an extended period of time, which activates all the muscles and bones that usually protest. Coupled with the sports band — highly necessary in this Massachusetts summer, where it’s been 80-degrees-plus and humid — I’ve been able to make it through my pain flares. And while I’ve been flaring, which is expected in humid weather, I know it’d be worse without the Quell. How do I know that? Because I’ve had flares without the Quell, and jeeze, they are terrible. Like, my God.
So I’ve been wearing this thing for three years now. I still answer questions about it frequently, and many people assume I’ve permanently injured my knees. It hasn’t hit the mainstream conversation. Celebrities aren’t wearing them on the red carpet. People don’t quite know what it is. I get questioning looks when I change the band from one leg to the other while out at a restaurant or at a movie. But it’s still very heartening to see this from a friend on SnapChat when she’s shopping at Target (I added the text):
I am so happy that I’ve had this little gadget for the past three years. I’m excited to see what Neurometrix comes up with next, because I know that they must be cooking up something incredible in their laboratory. They have the most dedicated team imaginable, and they are only looking to help people with chronic pain.
So, thank you, Neurometrix, for giving me a piece of my life back.
Thanks for sharing! It’s great to know you have had such a long and positive experience with Quell. I have had mine for just over 3 days now and I’m amazed. I have chronic sciatica caused by degenerated discs in my lower back. Nothing seemed to help the sharp stabbing pain that shot down my right leg. So far I find that Quell turns the volume down on the pain. It’s a much more manageable 2-3 instead of the 6-7 I was feeling all the time.
So far my only concern is the electrode strips. I’m trying to care for mine but I can’t see it really holding up for a full 14 days.
Other than that, I love my new Quell!
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I’m so happy for you!!! Did you get the sport or the normal kind of electrodes? The sport model really helps elongate the lifespan if you live in a humid area or if you sweat more than a supermodel. I can get an extra 5-ish days past the 14 if I try really hard. One of my readers also got some medical electrode gel that she said worked to extend the lifespan, but I didn’t like that too much. I think it actually increased the shocks for me, but she really liked it, soooo *shrug*? The two-week lifespan is a bummer, but I’m hoping that’s the next thing they work to increase. They’re always up to something at that company. 🙂
You mention the New sports model of electrodes. But you also talk about the “new model” of Quell. Are you saying that there is a new Quell device, and separately, there are also new sports electrodes? The company’s website doesn’t make any reference to the Quell device actually being updated, so I’m wondering if perhaps it’s not on the market yet? Thanks!
I think they just replaced the model that was on the market, because the store doesn’t have a separate Quell to buy. The cycles definitely changed (IE, it turns on every half hour instead of every hour, the electricity is stronger, etc.). So I think that’s what they did. Maybe I’m an idiot and it isn’t being sold yet, because I got mine at the Meet & Greet event they held at the company headquarters last month. Maybe they’re just waiting to see what we think. That might be a question for the team. I know they hop on this blog sometimes, so hey guys, if you read this, can you answer that question? As for the electrodes, that’s a separate product. They have the normal electrodes, which have a blue tint to the gel, and then the sport electrodes are a white gel. Sport is good for humidity and activity, and Mass. is so humid right now that I just buy those as a standard. Plus they seem to last longer when you get sweaty. These summer months, man!! Hope that helps. 🙂 Let me know if you have more questions!
Thanks – I have left a message with the company to ask about availability of the upgraded device – hopefully they will respond
That looks interesting. I haven’t tried a technological route to dealing with pain yet. Out of curiosity, does it literally jolt you? Or does it let off a frequency? I’m a bit confused on how it works.
Thank you for the post!
Hi, Crys! Thanks for commenting. It’s more of a buzzing feeling, if anything — it runs on a certain frequency that you control with an app, so you can turn it up and down depending on what your pain level is. The app also prompts you to tell it what your pain was that day, whether it affected your sleep, mood and activity levels, and it trains the Quell to re-calibrate based on those answers. So if I say my pain was 8/10, it’ll get stronger the next day. Right now I’m wearing the Quell and don’t feel the buzzing. I feel it when I first turn it on and then at the end of the hour, it seems to get strong again — I’m not sure why it increases in intensity then, maybe kind of a “Hey, I’m shutting off now,” thing. But mostly I don’t notice it unless I crank it up. 🙂 Let me know if you have any other questions! And if you order it directly from Neurometrix, I know they have a 60-day trial period, so you can decide if you like it or not.
Thank you for the reply!
Will medicade pay for this
As far as I know, the Quell is just over the counter. However, Neurometrix (parent company) has another device that’s prescription only and called another name, which I’ve been told is basically Quell Prime… That was the first device and where they got the idea. Maybe Medicaid would pay for that? I’m honestly not even sure how that works, to be honest. But their customer service team is absolutely awesome, so I know if you asked about the prescription device, they’d be able to tell you about it. I hope that helps! Good luck!
Jennifer used to like your comments and experiences on living with pain. I also live with mega pain. But now this website has turned into a Quell commercial i think i will not follow it anymore. Products like Quell have been around for a long time the difference is the portability. I have tried everything on the market including Quell and my experience is why would i want to trade one pain for another. Electric shocks and nerve pain shocks are very similar. The solution I’m going for is no shocks now that would be pain relief. Good Luck.
Hi Tom — I’m sorry you feel that way, and I understand. When you have chronic pain and something actually works, you want to tell as many people as possible. I’m sorry it hasn’t worked for you as well as it works for me. That doesn’t mean I’m not still looking for things, because I do still have pain. I will still be writing about other products (my editor at Pain News Network actually tapped me to try something with cobra venom the other day), though people keep asking me about the Quell, so I will do my best to answer. Good luck to you as well. I hope you find relief!
Thank you for writing this. I just received my Quell 2.o this week. I have chronic neck and lower back pain as well as sciatic pain that radiates down to my foot. Today is day 4 using the device. The first day I started noticing my lower back hurt less and by today it’s starting to help with my neck and sciatic pain. In fact, I haven’t taken any breakthrough meds today at all. My only concern is my migraines. I went 1 day, yesterday, without wearing the Quell while sleeping and woke up with a raging migraine. It was so bad, I had to call off of work. I was wondering if you have ever had rebound headaches from not using your Quell. I take daily migraine prophylactic meds.
Hi Michael — I personally haven’t had that happen… how fast did you taper off your meds? Or do you just use them on a breakthrough basis? I use Emgality for migraines (some new injectable monthly preventative, I think it’s awesome). I would speak with the care team at Quell. I don’t know for certain, but I’d imagine they keep records of this sort of thing. Maybe they have stories about other patients this has happened to? Please let me know what happens either way!